School leaders, department heads, and mentor teachers. I know your situation. I really do. You have a loonnnnnnng to-do list. On that list: "Help the rookie teachers more."
There's an excellent online mini-course (just 4 weeks) you should know about.
It's zippy. It's wise. And unlike almost all things in K-12, it's got humor!
*It's called Surviving Your Rookie Year of Teaching: 3 Key Ideas & High Leverage Techniques.
*It was developed by 2 of my favorite people: Ross and Orin.
*Some charter leaders direct their rookie teachers there -- not that the course itself is somehow "The Answer," but it helps rookies better frame issues they're facing, so they can talk about it with you (or their mentor teachers).
Curious? Read more. Ross and Orin write:
Frustration. Hard Knocks. Sleepless nights. Tears.
Those are just a few of the ways that rookie teachers describe their first year in the profession. And those sentiments have been validated by countless research studies that show that students, on average, learn significantly less when they’re taught by rookies. Unfortunately, many educators believe this is a necessary “rite of passage” – a sort of hazing that one must experience on their path to effective teaching.
We don’t believe that.
Over the past 6 years, the Match Teacher Residency has developed and refined an approach to specifically address the challenges that are unique to the rookie teacher experience. In this four-week course, we’ll explore the three ideas that we've found to contribute radically to success as a rookie teacher.
1. Develop Classroom Management Automaticity
Certain skills that delay a novice are automatic for an expert. Dribbling a basketball. Driving a car. Addressing classroom misbehavior is similarly difficult for a novice and effortless for an expert. At one moment the novice teacher might let a particular misbehavior slide entirely; at another they might respond too harshly; and at yet another they might respond with halting uncertainty. In this part of our course, we’ll cover concrete techniques and exercises that can help a rookie teacher develop the classroom management automaticity of an expert.
2. Practice Good Ratio
Teachers love the spotlight. Often, a natural taste for being the center of attention might have drawn somebody to teaching in the first place. But we’ve concluded that there’s an inverse relationship between a teacher’s talking and his/her students’ learning: the more you talk, the less they learn. Doug Lemov from Uncommon Schools first coined the term “Ratio:” the amount of teacher work in a lesson compared to the amount of student work. Rookie teachers tend to have very bad Ratio because they often spend more energy thinking about their lessons in terms of what they want to say rather than what they want their students to do. In this part of our course, we’ll address when and how to use specific techniques such as “Turn and Talks” and “Stop and Jots” and “Student-to-Student Interactions” to get students to do more of the intellectual heavy-lifting in lessons.
3. Call Parents
Many preparation programs counsel new teachers to build positive relationships with parents, but few show them exactly how to approach that work. Lacking those details, it’s no surprise that rookie teachers quickly become overwhelmed by all of the aspects of their job that seem more pressing and urgent. “Sure it would be nice to have better relationships with parents, but it certainly doesn’t feel like a priority, when I’m drowning in papers to grade, lessons to plan and a messy class to organize!” We understand that sentiment, but we believe a teacher should view his/her investment of time in building relationships with parents as a key strategy for motivating students to give more effort in class. In this part of the course, we will very precisely show teachers how much time to spend phoning parents, what to say, and how to say it.
Course Learning Outcomes:
o To describe the concept of classroom management automaticity as it relates to student learning outcomes for rookie teachers.
o To describe, analyze and practice techniques that enhance management automaticity.
o To describe the concept of Ratio as it relates to student learning outcomes for rookie teachers.
o To describe, analyze and practice techniques that enhance instructional Ratio.
o To describe the impact of calling parents on student learning outcomes.
Does Ross give the secret to consistently shooting 3-pointers? No.
Does Orin give his coaching strategy for running the only man-to-man defense in the Boston charter school league? No.
It turns out, these two Knicks fans actually don't offer any basketball tips in this course about Rookie Teaching. It's 100% about Rookie Teaching.
You'll like it. Check it out.